Local efforts to supply critical COVID-19 materials in the Great Lakes Bay Region ramp up

As the region and the state ramp up to prepare for COVID-19, nothing is currently more critical than personal protection equipment (PPE) and sanitizer. Over the last week, several companies, from small, two-person shops, to large corporations, have shifted focus to help address this issue in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

The regional effort has been both quick and immense.

Dow shifted production at five plants globally, allowing them to produce more than 200 metric tons of sanitizer, or the equivalent of 880,000 eight-ounce bottles over the next four weeks.

Dow’s Auburn site is one of the five plants who have quickly converted production, all of which will be donated to supply regional hospitals and other first responders and community-based organizations throughout the state of Michigan.

With the help of THRIVE, a collaborative effort between Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, Inc. (MiHIA) and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance (GLBRA), there has been a concentrated effort to get all needed Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) distributed throughout the region.

Nexteer Automotive has begun 3D printing face masks and face shields out of the company’s Saginaw, Michigan and Tychy, Poland locations. Current production efforts total 50 face masks and 100 face shields per day, but the company is looking at options to increase production to 1,000 units of face masks per day in Saginaw.

You can read more about Dow’s efforts here and Nexteer’s efforts here. Many others are underway.

“Our region was called to action, we stood up together and responded, with many of our partnering organizations offering to help in any way possible,” says Beth Roszatycki, Chief Executive Officer of Michigan Health Improvement Alliance Inc. (MiHIA). “It was great to see people come together across industries, counties, etc. to help our health professionals and first line workers defend themselves against COVID-19.”

Many efforts are underway to distribute PPE throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Regionally, materials have been collected and distributed with the help of THRIVE. Made up of nearly 100 local partners, the collective has supported local COVID-19 response efforts, supplying the regional health systems, at-risk populations and critical workforce members with appropriate PPE.

Over the past week, over 10,000 units of PPE have been distributed by THRIVE and efforts to ramp up are underway. Efforts have been led by Kate Cardinali, marketing and communications leader for MiHIA and THRIVE, who has quickly become the de facto connector for all local supply chain efforts for allocating PPE.

“The Great Lakes Bay Region has always been resilient. We are incredibly proud of the community for working quickly to donate needed PPE supplies,” says Matt Felan, President and CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance and THRIVE member. “And not surprisingly, several of our manufacturers have answered the call to start producing various materials including sanitizer, masks, gowns and other needed PPE equipment.”

Felan also noted community members can all do their part by limiting contact with others for the next month.

“Everyone in the Great Lakes Bay Region can do their part to help us get through this crisis by practicing Social Distancing. If we all do our part throughout the month of April, we will put the Great Lakes Bay Region in position to enjoy our summers,” he says. “We have to be diligent for the next 30 days and continue our Social Distancing efforts of the past 30 days. It’s working in the Great Lakes Bay Region and we all have to share in this responsibility.”

For more information on PPE donations in the Great Lakes Bay Region, visit THRIVE’s donation site here.

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